Styx, REO Speedwagon, Don Felder on The United We Rock Tour, The Greek Theatre, June 24, 2017
The United We Rock Tour 2017 made its way to the beautiful Greek Theatre for a glorious night of music and memories – all courtesy of Styx, Reo Speedwagon, and Don Felder. It was a magnificent evening under the stars, with the timeless songs and gorgeous Southern California weather rendering this one a concert for the ages.
Although we were making a journey through the past of rock and roll, Styx had just unleashed a 16th studio magnum opus entitled The Mission – a concept album regarding taking a journey to Mars that stands exceedingly well with their much revered previous endeavors. It is always exciting to see bands look ahead to the future, and The Mission has received massive acclaim from both the critics and longtime Styx fans.
And NOW it was time to celebrate three iconic bands whose contributions to music continue to inspire the world at large.
Don Felder kicked off the show with a freewheeling version of Already Gone, and proceeded to present a dazzling set of selections documenting his time spent with the Eagles. One of the highlights was the unveiling of Heavy Metal (Takin’ A Ride) from the movie of the same time – a solo endeavor Don Felder recorded in 1981. Felder’s banter between songs was refreshing and carefree, offering tidbits of information about his colorful history with the Eagles and beyond. Tommy Shaw from Styx made a guest appearance on Take It Easy while REO Speedwagon guitarist Dave Amato was brought onstage for a sparkling rendition of Hotel California. The songs of the Eagles live on and soar into the stratosphere thanks to Don Felder and his rock solid band. It is always a joyous occasion when Don Felder and company make their way to the Southland, and the entire performance was a rousing commencement setting a wondrously high standard for the rest of the night.
Don Felder on Facebook
As the ominous Overture from The Mission was playing over the speakers, the members of the almighty Styx made their way onstage to massive applause. Styx launched into the towering Gone, Gone, Gone, the opening track and debut single from The Mission – certainly an epic introduction of the new material for many within The Greek Theatre. There were plenty of fans favorites to follow, with songs such as Blue Collar Man, The Grand Illusion, and Lady showing why Styx is clearly one of the most highly respected progressive rock bands on the Planet Earth. The band noted in addition celebrating to the recently issued The Mission, The Grand Illusion was commemorating its 40th big anniversary, and the album remains an absolute fan favorite to this very day.
After a fiery rendition of Light Up from Equinox, Styx launched into the passionate refrains of Radio Silence from The Mission. It was very clear to all that Radio Silence would be a treasured selection that would be played for the many rock and roll generations ahead – for the new material it was truly a mission accomplished! It was then back to The Grand Illusion for sweeping performances of Miss America and Too Much Time On My Hands – once again showcasing an album that truly stands the test of time.
At this point of the evening, the wickedly charismatic Lawrence Gowan – the man behind the rotating keyboards – was left to own his devices on the stage and enchanted the audience with rousing renditions of Bohemian Rhapsody and Golden Slumber – complete with a fevered crowd participated. The rest of the band would then join in, and slam into an explosive auditory voyage of Come Sail Away –with Gowan excelling on lead vocals. Even original bassist Chuck Panozzo joined the band for the performance of Styx’s most iconic tapestry.
For a much deserved encore, Styx made their way back to the stage and unleashed Rocking The Paradise with epic precision. Closing out their set with the gorgeously multi-layered Renegade, Styx left the audience absolutely mesmerized and wanting a whole lot more! The entire Styx lineup remains in top form, featuring James J.Y. Young on guitars and lead vocals, Tommy Shaw on guitars and lead vocals, Todd Sucherman on drums, Lawrence Gowan on lead vocals and keyboards, Ricky Phillips on bass, and Chuck Panozzo on occasional bass. Whether Styx are playing large venues like The Greek Theatre or headlining more intimate houses like The Saban, their live show is an event for the ages that is not to be missed!
Styx on Facebook
All this sonic goodness and then REO Speedwagon too! The night was far from over, and REO Speedwagon was now in the house, ready to rock your world with their own classic tunes spanning a grand and illustrious career. Opening with Don’t Let Him Go from their landmark Hi Infidelity album, REO Speedwagon had the entire Greek Theatre audience enraptured from the very first note right up to the conclusion of their set. And the hits kept right on coming at you, from Can’t Fight This Feeling, That Ain’t Love, Take It On The Run and so many more sweet rocking reveries. Kevin Cronin remains a dynamic, thoroughly inspiring front man – with guitar in hand and ready to rapturously serenade you like no other. Each and every member of REO Speedwagon plays with a grand amount of passion and enthusiasm, featuring standout performances from Dave Amato on guitar, Bruce Hall on bass, Neal Doughty on keyboards, and Bryan Hitt on drums and percussion.
This dynamic trio of bands will be on the road as the United We Rock Tour 2017 continues its trek throughout North America over the hot summer of 2017. Be sure to catch this show while you still can, and prepare to celebrate with some of the finest musicians playing songs that you’ll want to revisit time and again!
REO Speedwagon on Facebook
(Review by Ken Morton – Photos by Jack Lue)